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A-multi perspective and multi level analysis framework in network security situational awareness

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International Journal of Computer Networks and Communications Security
VOL. 5, NO. 4, APRIL 2017, 71–75
Available online at: www.ijcncs.org
E-ISSN 2308-9830 (Online) / ISSN 2410-0595 (Print)

A Multi-Perspective and Multi-Level Analysis Framework in
Network Security Situational Awareness
M.Azhagiri, Dr A.Rajesh and Dr S.Karthik
1
2

Research Scholar, St.Peter's University, Avadi, Chennai-600054

Professor/CSE, C Abdul Hakeem College of Engineering and Technology, Melvisharam, Tamil Nadu
632509
3

Associate Professor/IT, V.M.K.V Engineering College, Salem, Tamil Nadu 636308
1

azhagiri1687@gmail.com
ABSTRACT

Network Security Situation Awareness (NSSA) knowledge has been comprehensively studied in multi-data
analyzing research these years. NSSA is a conception pertinent to assessing and showing the global and
comprehensive situation of network security, so it requires people to collect all kinds of data and analysis
for as many dimensions as possible in order to reflect the macroscopic pictures. For network security
situation evaluation method has been provided, and it represent’s how to apply this method to NSSA. A
multi-perspective and multi-level analysis framework for NSSA is presented to demonstrate the advantages
and effectiveness by using this method.
Keywords: Situation Awareness, Multi-Level Analysis, Multi-Perspective Analysis, NSSA.


1

INTRODUCTION

The idea of Situation Awareness (SA) comes
from the research on human factors in the domain
of aerospace and aviation. The concept of
Situational Awareness is an extremely important
one in information security cyber security
operations. Situational Awareness is defined as:
“Within a volume of time and space, the perception
of an enterprise’s security posture and its threat
environment; the comprehension/meaning of both
taken together (risk); and the projection of their
status into the near future.” Also, it is stated that
Continuous monitoring is ongoing observance with
intent to provide warning. A continuous monitoring
capability is the ongoing observance and analysis of
the operational states of systems to provide decision
support regarding situational awareness and
deviations from expectations.
Research of Network security situational
awareness (NSSA) is based on the integration of all
kinds of network security elements of the
assessment from the macroscopic angle of real-time
network security situation. Also it predicts the
development trend of network security situation in
certain condition.

The definition of the conceptual model is shown

in Figure 1. However, the traditional concept of
situational awareness is mainly used in the field of
aviation human factors considerations, and not
introduced into the field of network security.
[1][2][3]
NSSA contains two meanings:


According to the network security devices in
real-time alarm information and other
information, the association merge, data fusion,
etc, reflect real-time operational status of the
network;
 According to some historical data offline
analysis, use the certain means to predict
potential threats.
Based on the basic functions, NSSA will be
divided into three stages: Network Security
Situation Recognition (include Extraction of
situational factors, Data preprocessing), situation
understanding and situation prediction.
In the Situation Recognition, the most significant
working is Extraction of situational factors.
Accurately and comprehensively extracting the
situational factors is the fundamental of NSSA. But
the net have to been a huge nonlinear complex


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systems, it has immense flexibility, so extraction of
situational factors is very complex. [4]

Fig. 2. Conceptual model of NSSA
Fig. 1. Three level model of Situational awareness

This paper is organized as follows. Section 2, we
discuss the conceptual model of NSSA system
framework. Section 3, we suggest a method of
situation evaluation Based on Multi- Perspective
Analysis in NSSA. Section 4, we establish the
model of Design of a Multi-Level Analysis
Framework of NSSA. Section 5 gives a conclusion
of the paper.
This paper is organized as follows. Section 2, we
discuss the conceptual model of NSSA system
framework. Section 3, we suggest a method of
situation evaluation Based on Multi- Perspective
Analysis in NSSA. Section 4, we establish the
model of Design of a Multi-Level Analysis
Framework of NSSA. Section 5 gives a conclusion
of the paper.
2

2.2 A Novel Design Approach to NSSA System
Based on above conceptual model of NSSA, we
suggest a novel design approach to NSSA system,
illustrated in Figure 3. This framework gives
precise mathematical model to describe network

security situation and its trend. Especially, it gives a
practical security reinforcement scheme used to
guide people to improve network security. It is
composed of five modules, except security
reinforcement scheme module, four of them
correspond to the four levels of conceptual model.

NSSA SYSTEM FRAMEWORK

2.1 Hierarchy of NSSA
Modeling is the basis of NSSA. There are many
researches about NSSA models [5] [6] [7].
According to Tim’s idea, it’s to construct the
network security situation infrastructure with the
application of multisensors data fusion. Tim Bass
gave a primary framework which provides
conceptual analysis of Network Situation
Awareness (NetSA).
It is the basis of other models. But it can’t solve
the actual security problems and has many
shortages. As networks evolve in complexity, the
number of objects, threats, sensors and data streams
dramatically increase [1]. After investigating many
other NSSA models, we give a conceptual model of
NSSA. It is a hierarchical model, illustrated Figure
2.

Fig.3. The framework of NSSA

 Data collection module: It observes

information in cyberspace and captures
metadata by multi-sensors. The output of this
module is tremendous original data. Situation
perception module: It analyzes the original
data, then categorizes them and transforms into
a unified format of XML. This module
prepares for situation evaluation, and it is the
basis of situation awareness.


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 Situation evaluation module: Analyzing the
input of security incidents with precise
mathematics model. This module gives a
comprehensive and quantitative description of
current situation. It is the core of situation
awareness and will be discussed in section 3.
 Situation prediction module: Comprehending
all historical situation values this module plots
situation map. It forecasts the future situation
using time series model.
 Security Reinforcement Scheme module:
Using the data input from other modules, this
module gives a practical security reinforcement
scheme to guide managers to improve network
security.
2.3 Evaluation methodology in Network Security
Situation Awareness

To assess the situation we need to clear the
important points as following:
 Evaluation standard: situations always have its
two sides for us, good side and bad side, and we
need to clarify the core strength of the two sides,
and the comparison of these two strengths mainly
compose the evaluation standard.
 Main factors: there are many factors that have
important impact on the evaluation standard
contained in the enemy side, our side and also
environment. Some of the factors can scale up the
power to be played out, some may play a
restricting role.
 Evaluation rules: these rules reflect the relation
between each evaluation factor and the
evaluation results and even describe how to
combine multi-factors together to raise effect on
the final results. These rules generally direct the
calculation of the situation exponent which
represents the comprehensive stat of the specified
situation.
While all these three points have been identified
and investigated, it is feasible to gain the
comprehension of any kinds of situations by
evaluating the current factors and forecast the
changes of situations by evaluating the possible
factors in the near future. Hence, we can regard the
data generated by Perception as the input of
evaluation, and regard the output of evaluation as
the measure of Comprehension and Projection

result.

Internet is a huge device for people to transfer
information. It connects all types of computing
equipment together by forming a virtual space
which is named cyber space. The security situation
in this virtual world is called Cyberspace Situation
or Network Security Situation. We are dedicated to
evaluate the security situation of cyberspace by the
methodology aforementioned. Before evaluation we
have to clear and define the environment and the
working principle in the cyberspace. Then we
explore through this virtual environment to find out
the contrary strengths that can be chosen as the
evaluation exponent, the factors that could affect
situation notably, and the rules that every factors
comply with in cyberspace.
This theoretical method is a direction of getting
comprehensive knowledge of Network Security
Situation. It emphasizes the importance to form
logical relation among the situation factors other
than mixing all the low level data together via
variety of analysis methods. As we do evaluation
based on a higher level knowledge, we encounter
new challenges as following:
 Identification: situation factors is a virtual object
to be identified, so there have to be some specific
identification methods for every kinds of lowlevel data to assign data to the right factor
objects;
 Relation rules: Network environment is a virtual

space that we can’t gain awareness directly by
our sense organ, we can’t see it neither hear it,
but by using sensor tools in the network, so it is
hard work to work out the relation among the
factors manually.
3 SITUATION EVALUATION BASED ON
MULTI- PERSPECTIVE ANALYSIS
Situation evaluation is a quantitative analysis
about security, and it is the basis of situation
prediction. There are many mature models for use
to evaluate situation, but most of them have
drawbacks. In this section we give a situation
evaluation model using multi-perspective analysis.
In data collection module, we use six detection
subsystems to all-round monitoring network,
including Malware Detection, IDS and Firewall,
Vulnerability Scan, Penetration Testing, Online
Testing and Security Service Detection. the multiperspective analysis framework is shown in Figure
4.


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Fig. 4. Multi-perspective analysis

In situation perception and evaluation modules,
because of topology of network and distinctness of
hosts, we must distinguish different networks.
Firstly, we consider a single computer security

situation evaluation. According to the security
situation of each host, we adopt additive weight
method to compute security situation of entire
network. Supposing a network contains N hosts, for
security situation evaluation of a single host, we
consider three types of security factor: security
attacks, vulnerabilities and security services.
4 DESIGN OF A MULTI-LEVEL ANALYSIS
FRAMEWORK OF NSSA
We derive a multi-level analysis framework of
NSSA is shown in Figure 5, which make a little
change from Endsley [8] three level model of
situation awareness. First it proposes that every
kind of data should have a corresponding process
engine for identifying the data belong to a
particular factor. Second, it divides the perception
into two parts, factor identification and relation
rules, because the purpose of perception is to get
knowledge of who will take part in the activities
and how they act.
Last, it clarifies that the core process of NSSA is
situation evaluation, and this process will generate
the knowledge of current situation and then forecast
the situation in two days or a week time. The
accuracy of evaluation and forecast mainly depends
on the integrity of information we get, so we should
make it a scalable framework to extend new data
acquisition capabilities.

Fig. 5. NSSA Multi-level analysis Framework


5

CONCLUSION

This paper displays the challenges of Network
Security Situation Awareness, and tries to give the
corresponding resolutions. We point out that the
relationship between the situation evaluation and
the situation awareness, and then propose a method
for situation evaluation. The situation evaluation
model adopting multi-perspective analysis is more
comprehensive than simple hierarchical model. At
last, we introduce the multi-level analysis
framework for Network Security Situation
Awareness. While there are still some detail
methods should be studied deeply, and we will give
a further discussion in the future work.
6

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